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April 26, 2017 - Comments Off on Change Your World: Oct 20th – 22nd 2017

Change Your World: Oct 20th – 22nd 2017

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Picture it. An excited ten-year-old girl, skipping through nature, away from school and the normal routine… it was my Grade 4 camp.

The anticipation was almost too much. Cabins in nature and activities galore… everything an adventurous young girl could want.

All these years later, I only remember bits and pieces from that camp but what sticks clear in my mind was the award I won at the end of the week. I was presented with the “Bruised Knees” award.  I think it was a combination of the rapid growth spurt my body was going through, coupled with the eagerness to try everything and only using one speed to get from place to place —running!

Camps were not uncommon in my life growing up. I went on church camps, children’s ministry camps, youth group camps and specialty camps like athletics camps, a horse riding camp, outdoor education camp etc.

In fact, even as a young adult I lead on school camps, children’s ministry camps, beach missions and then later on the Life Gets Better Camps for many years.

… time away at camp unites people for a common cause.     

Maybe you’re wondering what triggered this spark of ‘camp’ nostalgia in me…? Well, just like that ten-year-old girl, I am super-excited because we’re getting ready for our very first ZOE ‘Change Your World’ weekend camp!

The focus for the camp is for each of us to get a new understanding of God's heart for the lost and marginalized and then consider as individuals, families or corporately how we can respond.

The sessions at camp will be centred around the areas of justice. With opportunities for people to hear more about ZOE’s work, ask questions and spend time in prayer.

If you think you’d like to join us, save the date and stay tuned for the rest of the details on our website.

Unlike my Grade 4 camp, I am not planning on any more bruised knees… although James Fraser did say, “Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees” so you just never know!!

Book now by clicking the link below.

http://www.gozoe.org.au/change-your-world/

January 2, 2017 - Comments Off on FAMILY ASSESSMENT: In the best interest of the whole family

FAMILY ASSESSMENT: In the best interest of the whole family

Upon hearing the good news, “They found her family,” you could mistakenly think, well, that was easy! But what most people don’t realise is that, just like a rescue mission to find a child, searching and finding a child’s family members can be just as difficult.

Through winding dusty roads in desperate need of repair, narrow turns, and steep mountainous terrain, the travel was difficult for this case, even for the experienced ZOE social work team. It would turn out to be a long and arduous journey.

Aoy* was rescued and brought to ZOE when she was just a small girl but now this bright young lady is about to finish her schooling with plans to study at university in the coming years. As she approaches adulthood, she has so many questions and seeks answers about her past.

At ZOE, the social work team is continuously doing Family Assessments. In Aoy’s case, they had been working with the small pieces of information that they had to search for family members on her father’s side. Aoy has never met them before and the team had little to go on as to where to find them.

After many ups and downs and tiny clues to follow, the team was finally able to locate her family. Her grandparents also had many questions, and the team was able to explain to them how ZOE had taken care of Aoy all these years.

 

Of course, Aoy was delighted at the news that her relatives had been found.

 

It was the missing jigsaw piece in the puzzle of her life. She too had many questions to ask and stories to share. Since the ZOE social work team found her family members, Aoy has been able to go and meet them and more visits have been planned for the upcoming school break.

For the ZOE social work team, it may be another case closed but for Aoy it has opened up the door to the many questions she had about her background and origin.

 

 

reunite

*Not her real name

December 31, 2016 - Comments Off on In the best interest (and safety) of each child

In the best interest (and safety) of each child

 

Everything the ZOE Child Rescue team does, is done in the best interest and safety of each child.

We all rejoice when a child is rescued but one of the hardest, yet most important, tasks for the ZOE Child Rescue team comes when they begin preparing a child for being a witness in court -and making sure that they can keep the child safe.

For the team at ZOE, stopping perpetrators from hurting more children is a necessary step in fighting child-trafficking.

The team needs to help prepare the child both mentally and physically. The important issues of each case are thoroughly reviewed and in doing so, it helps to reduce a child's anxiety and apprehension. The team also meets to ensure that the child's physical security needs are met by analysing the risk and severity of the case. The team then discuss known details about the suspect and their last known whereabouts.

Toward the end of 2016, taking children to court became very challenging for the social work team. So much so that the team were required to formulate a new security plan, by setting up a protective guard program, while traveling to court.

The team took children to court for ten cases. Some of these children were living at a government shelter whilst others came to the ZOE Children’s Homes.

All case management is done in conjunction with the multidisciplinary team.

For some of the protected children in these cases, their court trial is not yet finished.

security

 

October 19, 2016 - Comments Off on The 13-year-old girl with the courage to run.

The 13-year-old girl with the courage to run.

Prayers were answered in a mighty way recently when a 13-year-old girl had the courage to run away from a brothel.  She contacted authorities and gave them pictures of other girls who were still being held in the brothel.

ZOE Child Rescue (ZCR) was called along with other NGO’s (non-government organizations.) ZOE traveled 14 hours to Northern Thailand. Along with government authorities, ZOE helped create a plan to raid a Karaoke bar which they knew had the girls from the brothel inside.

The plan was a success! The federal police shut down the bar, identified themselves and rescued the 12 girls. The ZCR social worker team worked diligently and compassionately throughout the night to care for these girls until Thai social services was able to get them to safety.

The rescue itself is seldom the end of the ZCR teams involvement in a case. In this case it required many hours or preparation and planning and then after the rescue a number of days of round the clock work to make sure these girls were safe. Once the girls were moved to a safe location, the ZOE team was advised to leave the area because it wasn’t safe anymore for them to be there.

God hears the cries of the lost and when we pray He sends out His people to rescue them.

the-prostitution-of-children-is-illegal-under-international-law

Please help ZOE to fight for these children. The commercial sexual exploitation of children remains a problem. Children – particularly children from migrant and poor populations who may be forced, coerced, or lured into sex trafficking. In some cases, relatives exploit children for profit.

 

August 26, 2016 - Comments Off on ZOE awarded for excellence in combating Child Trafficking

ZOE awarded for excellence in combating Child Trafficking

On July 21, 2016 over 500 individuals representing 71 Thai government agencies gathered at Chiang Mai’s Lotus Hotel. Those present included the Vice Governor of Chiang Mai Province, the Chief of the Department of Social Welfare and a host of Thai and foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss best practices to combat human trafficking in Thailand. The meeting stressed and the need for cooperation - working together collaboratively to eradicate trafficking, not only among government and NGOs, but also to encourage, educate, and empower citizens to join the fight.

The high point of the meeting was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the assembled parties to support common goals and strategies in the fight against trafficking. The MOU highlighted eight action points with a goal of restoring trust in Thailand in the area of human trafficking while asking the directors of the province’s 25 districts to take responsibility for the effort.

The eight points are:

  • Help and protect victims of all forms of human trafficking

  • Arrest and prosecute criminals to the fullest extent of the law

  • Train and provide enough resources to all personnel

  • All signatories should do all they can do to prevent children and adults from becoming trafficking victims

  • Chiang Mai province will gladly reduce or eliminate human trafficking

  • Instill and educate people of Chiang Mai in sufficient economy

  • Promote private organisations to participate and receive information relating to the fight against trafficking

  • Determine to create human trafficking watch and use all measures to ensure greatest punishment for criminals

ZOE award

ZOE took an active role the proceedings. In addition to being a signatory to the MOU, ZOE team members participated in the discussions on topics ranging from the U.S. 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, trafficking in the Thai fishing industry, the Blue Heart Campaign, the use of modern technology by both traffickers and anti-trafficking forces.

ZOE was honored at the event by being presented with one of three special awards recognising excellence in combating human trafficking.

August 24, 2016 - Comments Off on Compelled to do something -by Jessica Welsh

Compelled to do something -by Jessica Welsh

The stories that were shared about human trafficking during my brief time at ZOE absolutely broke my heart. I was overwhelmed with righteous anger and felt compelled to do something about it.

Micah 6:8 says
Micah 6-8Living in the western world, the majority of our society, are blissfully unaware of the horrors that take place everyday.
 

In organizing the trivia night I wanted to not only raise much needed funds for ZOE, I wanted to raise awareness.

Trivia night

You can't listen to the children's stories and remain the same person you were before.

The work ZOE does for these children is absolutely incredible. They rescue them out of slavery and darkness, into a place of love and freedom. I am reminded of the verse from Matthew 25:40 which states, "The King will reply 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
It was an absolute honour to organise an event like this. I would do it all again in a heart beat. I pray that the people who attended the evening will be touched and inspired to continue to raise awareness and to help make our world a place without slavery.

A place filled with love, compassion and freedom.

- Jessica Welsh -

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Proceeds from the night run by GBAB were given to ZOE Foundation Australia and Baan Op Un

Thank you Jess Welsh and your incredible team and also to everyone who donated auction items, prizes and to all who came to the trivia night.

August 19, 2016 - Comments Off on I’m gonna come and help you

I’m gonna come and help you

What began as a 40 minute session was extended well past an hour as the students in year 5 & 6 continued to seek answers to their questions.

Their hearts had been touched, the injustice they felt for kids their age was evident.

They needed to know why it was happening and they needed an answer…today!

This is often what is so hard for all of us to grapple with as we work to fight slavery. We sit and have the questions of ‘how’ and ‘why’ has this happened. Then, given the enormity of the task, we can feel it is too big to solve, so we shift our focus onto other ‘more solvable’ matters.

But what happened amongst this group of students is that the questions started to shift, as they wanted to know what they could do ‘right now’ to help.

As we ended the session, their teacher, Miss Lucas asked the children to write their personal reflections of what they had learned about.

Immediately a student approached me with a serious question. He asked if I would keep doing ‘this’ for a while. Though unsure of the reason for his question, I answered "Yes, my plan is to continue for some time." He then asked if it would be 'years', to which I also answered "yes, I plan to continue this for many years." Satisfied with the response he said, "Good, 'cause once I finish school, I’m gonna come and help you."

 

The reports from Miss Lucas continued into the next day and the weeks to come. Some kids raised awareness through telling friends and family while others did fundraising by buying or selling ZOE colouring books. She wrote:

"You have definitely inspired our students.  The kids have been continuing to learn about the issue of human trafficking at school and have explored further the different perspectives of those involved in the trafficking and those trying to stop it, reflecting on the teachings of Jesus and Scripture and learning about human dignity." - Miss Lucas

...To be honest Miss Lucas, your students have inspired me!

Note from student

Reflection about slavery

 

August 11, 2016 - Comments Off on Making a SPLASH!

Making a SPLASH!

A couple of years ago Emily and Alice Lawes visited ZOE as part of the Maranatha Mission Awareness Team, so this year, when Alice and her husband Wayne heard about the new pool at ZOE, they decided to send us some really cool things!!!

A huge thank you to Wayne, Alice and the team from Fastlane Aquatics and the suppliers who have given ZOE some kick boards, goggles, swim rings and arm bands!

As ZOE don't show the faces of any children in media these pics don't quite capture the fun ...

... but take our word for it, these kids are smiling from ear to ear!

Swimming

July 29, 2016 - Comments Off on What does it take to help somebody?

What does it take to help somebody?

Few people can respond as fast as this group of amazing students from Waverley Christian College!!!

After hearing about ZOE and their work to combat the trafficking of children at a recent Chapel service the Student Representative Council got together and were spurred into action.

They arranged a meeting with the Deputy Head of Secondary and organised a free dress day with the proceeds going to ZOE!

 

Many people ask ZOE:

"What can I do to help?"

I think that this group of students have answered that question for all of us.

When they heard about someone who needed help they ...

"Took Immediate Action"

We are inspired by you guys at Waverley Christian College, you have shown us how we can all #DoOneThing

One thing

 

May 30, 2016 - Comments Off on Colour for a Cause!

Colour for a Cause!

Hands are so amazing aren’t they? The fact that they can do so many different things as well as communicate so much about how we’re feeling.

They can show others when we’re nervous, tired, appreciative, mad, hurting, thoughtful… and so many other emotions!

They can also do so many things too.  They help us to swim, hug, cook, drive, write… this list goes on and on!!

Our hands also tell others information about us like whether we are married or single, our taste in jewelry, our age group and whether or not we bite our nails!

Have you ever considered that your hands could also help fight child trafficking?

We know that most of you don’t have too much time on your “hands” but we’ve found a way that you can help without having to feel like time is slipping through your fingers.

We have produced an intricate colouring book called “Your Beautiful Hands Can” and in the right “hands,” this book can do amazing things!

On one “hand” you can be having fun and doing something relaxing but on the other “hand” you will be helping kids in Thailand.

“But I’ve never tried my ‘hand’ at coloring or doodling,” I hear you say.

Well this book would also make a lovely gift for someone or can be used as a fundraising activity for youth groups, churches and schools.

We’ll leave it in your “hands” to think creatively about the many other ways that this book can assist with the business at “hand” which is rescuing and caring for children.

I personally will not sit on my hands, or twiddle my thumbs, waiting for the right time.  The issue of modern day slavery is already out of “hand”!!!

The time is NOW!

Wouldn’t it feel great to say that you had a “hand” in helping to fight child trafficking?

I say, let’s use whatever we have at “hand” and make slavery disappear forever.     

Will you lend a “hand”? 

 

Click here to order your copy today!

 

Minimum order 3 books.

Free postage for 50 or more books!